Grieving mom hunted down 10 Mexican cartel members who kidnapped and killed her daughter

A doting Mexican mother showed incredible courage when she became a vigilante and activist following the kidnapping and murder of her 20-year-old daughter.

The incredible story of Miriam Rodriguez was documented by The New York Times, and revealing that the mother – of San Fernando, Tamaulipas – sought repercussions after her daughter, Karen, was abducted from her pickup truck by armed men on January 23, 2014.

It later came to light that the men were part of the Zetas drug cartel, and were holding Karen as a prisoner for ransom. The Times reported how Miriam and her family followed the demands of the cartel – even taking out a loan in order to meet the ransom.

Not willing to sit around waiting for the worth, Miriam disguised herself as a healthcare worker and eventually gathered enough information to allow the police to put one of the cartel members behind bars – who provided the names of those responsible for Karen’s kidnapping.

After gaining the trust of one of the gang members – an 18-year-old male – he would eventually reveal Karen’s location.

However, Miriam’s daughter had been killed, and Karen’s body was later discovered at an abandoned ranch. She was found in a mass grave filled with more dead bodies.

From that moment, Miriam dedicated her life to avenging her daughter and tracking down those responsible for Karen’s death.


Miriam would don many disguises – cut her hair, wear caps and trench coats. She would use fake IDs and pretend to be a pollster in order to gather names and addresses. On another occasion, she poses an as election official.

The Times reports that some of the men responsible for her daughter’s killing had attempted to live ordinary lives – with one becoming a babysitter and another a car salesman. But thanks to the grieving mother’s persistence, she was able to gather enough information to take down 10 people who was responsible for her daughter’s murder.

Over the span of three years, she had been instrumental in the capture of almost every living member of the cartel that had taken Karen away from her.

Tragically, Miriam’s pursuit of justice does not have a happy ending. Her fight on crime had made her a target.

On Mexico’s Mother’s Day in 2017, The Times reports that Miriam was killed after a group of gunmen broke into her home and shot her 12 times. She was later found face-down by her husband, with her hand apparently reaching for her pistol that was inside her purse.

She died from her injuries while on the way to the hospital.

Miriam’s death came just weeks after she had chased down her last target.

To pay tribute to the doting mother, city officials placed a bronze plaque honoring her in the central plaza, and her son took over from the local group Miriam had started – the San Fernando Missing Persons Activists Collective – which is dedicated to helping the families of kidnapped victims.